The desperation for an anti-Trump candidate is growing greater with time’s passing. The Republican nomination race is half way into March without a clear winner, although Donald Trump stands comfortably in the lead at this point. Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, alongside a distant but persistent Governor John Kasich, are all vying for the anti-Trump title. Because of the race still being this crowded, Trump continues to walk away with the vote.
As if this election cycle couldn’t get any more odd, the Marco Rubio campaign is now urging supporters to support Governor Kasich in Ohio:
A top aide to Senator Marco Rubio on Friday urged his supporters in Ohio to back Gov. John Kasich in that state’s primary on Tuesday, giving fresh momentum to efforts to stop Donald J. Trump a day after a debate in which his rivals declined to take a swing at the leading Republican presidential candidate.
Alex Conant, Mr. Rubio’s spokesman, made the comments in an interview with CNN. He said that he hoped supporters of Mr. Kasich and of Senator Ted Cruz would support Mr. Rubio in his home state primary in Florida, and that he would suggest Mr. Rubio’s backers in Ohio do the same by supporting Mr. Kasich there.
This wouldn’t be so odd if Senator Rubio was dropping out, but he’s not. Governor Kasich, for his part, is not returning the favor in Florida.
Even more odd is that Senator Rubio’s spokesman is openly advocating for an even more divided race. Delegate projections show Trump leading with 460 delegates, followed by Senator Cruz with 369, Senator Rubio with 163, and Governor Kasich with 63. Florida and Ohio are both winner-take-all states with 99 and 66 delegates, respectively.
5 new polls came out of Florida on Monday with all painting the same general picture in Florida. Donald Trump is still polling 17-25 points above Senator Rubio, who is less than 10 points ahead of Senator Cruz. Governor Kasich is barely a blip on the radar.
In other words, if Governor Kasich’s supporters sided with Senator Rubio, Trump would still win. Of course, everyone could unify behind Senator Rubio, but it wouldn’t make any sense. Why would Senator Cruz’s supporters abandon the candidate with the second most delegates to back a moderate neoconservative in a distant third place?
Ohio paints a different story with the 3 new polls that came out. In two, Governor Kasich holds a single digit lead over Trump, whereas a third shows it as a tie. Senator Cruz is around 20 points out of second and Senator Rubio is in the low single digits.
Senator Rubio’s minimal support won’t make an enormous impact in numbers, but it could be the difference given how close it is.
In the end, if Senator Rubio wants to defeat Trump, he needs to drop out. He’s slipping into irrelevance, whereas Governor Kasich stands a serious chance at winning a winner-take-all state. While this doesn’t change much of anything, Governor Kasich at least has something to hang onto, whereas Senator Rubio has nothing.
The viable anti-Trump candidate at this point is Senator Ted Cruz, whereas the only moderate with the chance at being an establishment alternative to the anti-Trump candidate is Governor Kasich. It’s time for Senator Marco Rubio to drop out of the race. He’s done.